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Email Marketing: 3 Tips for Producing Engaging Email Content
 

Email Marketing: 3 Tips for Producing Engaging Email Content

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Due to its relative low cost, audience reach and trackability, email is one of the most common marketing tools used today. ...

Due to its relative low cost, audience reach and trackability, email is one of the most common marketing tools used today.

However, it doesn’t matter how effective you are at the technical aspects of email. Without quality content, you’ll have a fire hose that’s only releasing a trickle of water. According to MarketingSherpa’s 2012 Email Marketing Benchmark Report, 69% of the marketers we surveyed consider delivering highly relevant content a top objective.

To help you create relevant content, Daniel Burstein, Director of Editorial Content, and Courtney Eckerle, Reporter, both of MECLABS, will spend 60 minutes in the next MarketingSherpa webinar, sponsored by email technology provider Return Path, Inc., discussing:

-Taking inventory of your existing library of marketing content
-Building an editorial calendar
-Recycling content ideas
-Tips to help you generate high-quality email content

Recording link: http://bit.ly/sherpawebinar

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  • We are constantly in a state of research and optimization. Our goal always being to produce products rich in data our audience really needs
  • To what extent have these tips and techniques been tested and their effectivenes documented, either in the form of case studies or metrics-infused testimonials? -- Jeffrey
  • COURTNEY69% report delivering highly relevant content a top objective in 2012, according to 2012 MarketingSherpa Email BMR.In this session we will discuss 3 key topics.Creating contagious content Segmenting for successShipping on time
  • DANTop priorities chart Let’s start by looking at a chart form our 2012 Email Benchmark report. Marketer’s like you told us that their top priorities where to grow and retain their subscribers. Closely behind was delivering relevant content. In fact for B2B companies it was the # 1 priority. However we stated earlier, only (28%) of respondents were sending relevant email communications, sent on time to a segmented audience with a clear conversion goal.
  • DANRelevancy tactics chart So what tactics are marketers using to accomplish this goal? Our research shows that 3 key elements arise. Time, Segmentation and Content. Plus an emerging element in gaming - use of gameplay elements for non-game applications are becoming more prevalent Look for reward programs, as well as surveys, trivia and games, to rise on the effectiveness scale.
  • DANIf you only send out promotional emails historically, and cannot risk the impact to revenue, how do you start incorporating "content" without upsetting the apple cart or adding new email campaigns? -- TimTo engage your audience, the content you send must be relevant to what is going on in the subscribers work or personal life. It must meet their needs and address their challenges. Relevancy can be defined as sending the right message, to the right person at the right time. There are 3 key factors to achieving relevancy; content, segmentation and real-time communications.And we will take a deeper look at each of these key factors in this session.
  • DANHow do you decide on the right mix between timely and evergreen content? How is each promoted?-Grant BakerLet’s start with the content we send in our email communications, the first step is to conduct an inventory audit. This action step will allow you to see what you currently have available and match it up where it goes in your marketing & sales pipeline. As you sort through your content, identify what fits the criteria for relevancy. Examine how helpful the content is to certain customer profile. At what time should you share it in the path to purchase.You have more available content than you think. Look through your website, blogs, sales collateral and publicity. As you begin to collect this information and identify its placement, you will clearly see where you have content and areas where you come up short.
  • DANYou’ll receive a link to the SlideShare after this webinar.Exercise – Taking inventory of your existing libraryOn page 94 of the handbook, we provide a chart for you to go through this exercise. You may be surprised at the areas you have a surplus or come up short.
  • COURTNEYI think this women pictured here represents most of us harried marketers. Having the resources to make publishing content as routine as manufacturing your product or providing your service is definitely a challenge. I agree this can be a daunting task, but today creating content authentic to your brand and value proposition is critical. Each company will solve this challenge based on their priorities and resources. Your solution may come from outsourcing writers, hiring new employees with the skills needed or dedicate a certain number of hours a week to the task with existing workers.
  • COURTNEYBecause we're a medical device company, we don't send any promotional email for federal compliance reasons, but we send newsletters. We are sensitive to doctor's time. We don't want to bombard them with email. It's important for us to educate versus sell. Can you talk to newsletters? -- KarenLike I mentioned before, the content created must be unique to your brand and tell your company’s story. A recent trend to accomplish this goal, is to hire a brand journalist who can create interesting information that serves to educate and inform consumers. This person has the skill set to uncover human-interest stories that personalize your brand, giving readers revealing insights into your company’s culture, products, and services. Brand journalists do not write standard press releases, promotional messages or even whitepapers. Their talent lies in telling interesting stories that can be sharedAs companies dig themselves out of the recent economic downturn, they might not have the ability to hire a brand journalist or outsource content generation. In those cases executives will turn to their current employees. If you are in this situation, this challenge can be a real opportunity. Your co-workers know the company, products and customer needs better than any outsider. The first step is to involve a wide variety of employees with niche specialties. In addition to their knowledge, subject matter experts bring a unique perspective valued by readers.
  • DANHow to building a content calendar? Best ways to recycle content ideas but keeping it fresh? -- ErinTo manage and organize a cross-functional project you will need to set up an editorial calendar. This calendar should be in line with your marketing initiatives, building off existing promotions, events and key objectives. The production schedule should include ship dates, approval process and milestones. The editorial calendar along with written guidelines for contributors will ensure content created consistently and on target. In addition to assigning content that fits your marketing plan, think up a few unexpected situations that you could take advantage to gain market share. If your competitor has a price increase or a supply shortage, having a draft of an email message will enable you to quickly execute. A word of caution: When creating an editorial calendar, be sure to set realistic goals for both the finished content as well as your writers. In the planning stages, our vision is often bigger than our ability to produce. Do less and ship, over more and not delivering the quality or hitting target dates.
  • COURTNEYOnce you have conducted an inventory audit, assigned resources and created a repeatable process to manufacture content the next step is to write an publish it.The goal is to create content your readers will crave. Aim to be like a bag of Lay’s Potato chips, you can’t just eat one and you want to share it with your friends. For me there are 3 types of content; Repurposed, User-Generated & Original Content. Here are some ways to stretch your marketing inventory.
  • COURTNEYI have a client who's content library is completely outdated, and there is minimal/no budget for content creation. What options for content are there? – Chris CONTENT CURATIONSo where do you begin producing relevant content for your email communications? Based on time and resources strains, it can be advantageous to begin looking at your pre-existing content that can be repurposed.The information found on your website, data sheets and publicity could all be repurposed for your email messages. Sharing highlights from analyst reports, extracting quotes from an executive interview with the press and interesting product attributes can be of value to your customers at varying stages in the Marketing and Sales pipeline. Keeping your editorial calendar in mind, you can identify key topics that will give you ideas on when and what content to repurpose. We have seen this done well repurposing blog posts for email newsletters. Dedicating a "blog corner" section to your newsletter with articles published based on their popularity determined by re-Tweets or comments can strengthen your credibility of listening to customers. Blogs conversational writing style may also be a welcome addition to the more formal fashion found in some e-newsletters.Ultimately, the art of repurposing lies in the editor’s ability to combine existing content with the email’s purpose in a relevant way to the reader. Strive to share your company’s thought leadership and teach your readers something new.
  • COURTNEY Exercise: Recycling content ideasI think of recycled content like pile of Legos that you can break apart and put back together.Let’s take a few minutes to take inventory of what marketing content you have in-house that can be re-formatted and repurposed to attract new ideal customers for your business. Make sure all of the content you choose to repurpose meets your prospects key interests, and balances the goals of your organization. Be sure to mark down the department and placement in the pipeline (if multiple) Read this wordie for inspiration.Turn to page 95 in your handbook.
  • COURTNEYUser-generated contentIf your brand is in the hands of the consumer, why not use their words, pictures, and thoughts in your email marketing campaigns. The explosion of digital media technologies including blogs, social networks, podcasts and question/answer sites, provide a wealth of comments, testimonials, reviews and ratings for you to incorporate into your messages. These sources are in addition to the comments you may collect from your customer service department and website.Taking advantage of these unsolicited testimonials adds a human touch to your messages. Placing user-generated content (UGC) center-stage via your email platform allows your supporters to connect in a way they might not have otherwise. When consumers share common interests, they build trustworthy communities and help you promote your products. As you control the content in your emails, you can shape the story and have the UGC reinforce or emphasize your key messaging points. Today’s consumer relies more on fellow consumers’ opinions than the brand’s claims when making their purchasing decisions. Begin by incorporating testimonials for your product or service. Turn them into "read customer review" links and see if they outperform other links embedded in your email. We think you will like the results.Copyright is always a concern in the digital age. Work with your legal department to create and include your firm’s Terms and Conditions on your website, blogs and any UGC contests you implement. If your company is not comfortable delving into this area of publication, you may suggest collaborating with influential bloggers or outspoken customers to co-create content with you. Another option is to recruit your social media followers for product interviews. Adding incentives such as a gift card or discount will encourage more responses.
  • COURTNEY < 49 sec >I love this quote from Dr. McGlaughlin…“When a company is humble enough to admit a weakness, they immediately distinguish themselves from the competition. It opens the door for a trust relationship. The consumer is all too aware of the fact that we are not perfect. To pretend otherwise only serves to raise their suspicion. Tell them what you can’t do, and they’ll believe you when you tell then what you can do.”Do not be afraid to use a well-written negative comment. Including a less than stellar comment will give your reviews more credibility and differentiate your product in situations in which it is not a good fit.
  • COURTNEYSystematically capture evangelist-generated feedbackCustomer service is often the first place evangelists turn when they want to make their opinions known, especially if they perceive a "foul" in strategy or execution. Most often, the feedback comes in the form of emailed complaints, but sometimes evangelists will contact you via phone, a visit to a store, a Web form submission, or even by snail mail. Set up a system and train your customer-facing departments (customer service, field sales, and retail stores) to: Recognize evangelists based on attributes you've identified Provide feedback such as terminology often used by your evangelists, their likely industries or job titles, or their special requests ("Please make sure this comment gets to your management.") Capture both written and oral feedbackPut in place a standard form and process for capturing feedback. If your customer service rep has recognized some feedback as coming from an evangelist, enable them to acknowledge the evangelist as a "friend" of the brand. Also, plan to respond to your evangelist's compliments and concerns as quickly as possible.Troll the InternetYour evangelists will not necessarily share their feedback with you directly, especially if they have a recent beef with your brand. They will blog, post comments and use social media to share their applause and gripes. To find out what your evangelists and other customers and prospects are saying about you, you can use sites like: Search engines Social networks such as Twitter and YouTube Technorati Online customer reviews Monitoring services like Radiant6Online feedback not only gives you unadulterated feedback, you'll find the terms people are using to describe their pain points, possible solutions, key players in your market place, and a possible source of new product ideas as well as terms for search engine marketing.Record your evangelists on videoAs part of your research, plan to video or audio record an interview with evangelists. While presenting their written comments can be useful, there is nothing more powerful than seeing the body language, facial expressions, passions and concerns of a true fanatic. You can use the video or audio recording to help guide your agencies and copywriters. You can also use to bolster your arguments when others suggest strategies that go against your brand. The content can also be repurposed for publishing via your company blog, email newsletter or YouTube channel.
  • COURTNEYSystematically capture evangelist-generated feedbackCustomer service is often the first place evangelists turn when they want to make their opinions known, especially if they perceive a "foul" in strategy or execution. Most often, the feedback comes in the form of emailed complaints, but sometimes evangelists will contact you via phone, a visit to a store, a Web form submission, or even by snail mail. Set up a system and train your customer-facing departments (customer service, field sales, and retail stores) to: Recognize evangelists based on attributes you've identified Provide feedback such as terminology often used by your evangelists, their likely industries or job titles, or their special requests ("Please make sure this comment gets to your management.") Capture both written and oral feedbackPut in place a standard form and process for capturing feedback. If your customer service rep has recognized some feedback as coming from an evangelist, enable them to acknowledge the evangelist as a "friend" of the brand. Also, plan to respond to your evangelist's compliments and concerns as quickly as possible.Troll the InternetYour evangelists will not necessarily share their feedback with you directly, especially if they have a recent beef with your brand. They will blog, post comments and use social media to share their applause and gripes. To find out what your evangelists and other customers and prospects are saying about you, you can use sites like: Search engines Social networks such as Twitter and YouTube Technorati Online customer reviews Monitoring services like Radiant6Online feedback not only gives you unadulterated feedback, you'll find the terms people are using to describe their pain points, possible solutions, key players in your market place, and a possible source of new product ideas as well as terms for search engine marketing.Record your evangelists on videoAs part of your research, plan to video or audio record an interview with evangelists. While presenting their written comments can be useful, there is nothing more powerful than seeing the body language, facial expressions, passions and concerns of a true fanatic. You can use the video or audio recording to help guide your agencies and copywriters. You can also use to bolster your arguments when others suggest strategies that go against your brand. The content can also be repurposed for publishing via your company blog, email newsletter or YouTube channel.
  • COURTNEYWe are a black car company who wants to keep our high class brand intact - so frequent discounts and holiday promotions don't work for our customer base. Its not the most "exciting" service but we want to start sending more emails. Any tips to research more valuable content for our customers? -- KarinWe are a black car company who wants to keep our high class brand intact - so frequent discounts and holiday promotions don't work for our customer base. Its not the most "exciting" service but we want to start sending more emails. Any tips to research more valuable content for our customers?Starting from scratch gives you the opportunity to send content that your readers can digest with great enthusiasm and possibly share. The secret to creating contagious content is either educating or solving the email recipient’s problem without explicitly selling your product. When you move away from focusing on just the product or service and towards helping the consumer, you will generate new ideas.
  • COURTNEY Does this stuff apply to product based sales -- we have a shopping cart - and sell items to photographers - do they really want relevant content from me? -- ElliottHumanize your content.Building off that perspective I encourage you to practice paying it forward. The act of giving a helping hand without any expectation shines a positive light on your brand and distinguishes it from the cold business of facts and figures. Marketing is all about relationships. When you respect the reader enough to reveal your culture, demonstrate your character, share your expertise, give gratitude, speak the same language, and serve their needs you will effectively engage your customers, community and coworkers. I love the quote from Brian Solis. “Effective engagement is inspired by the empathy that develops simply by being human.”
  • COURTNEY< 56 sec> A couple of ideas on how to get started. Start off small by…Compliment existing content with add-on or bonus materialRound out your existing content with supplemental information. For instance, a popular e-book provides an opportunity for the author to be interviewed and reveal their top takeaways. The interview may be recorded as an audio podcast or YouTube video and shared through your email communications.Practice the art of storytellingOne of the best way to effectively communicate and engage today's digital audience is through the art of storytelling. Sharing personal experiences of employees, customers or community members that relate to your overall message deepens the connection between you and your reader. Consumers rely on facts to rationalize their decisions, but real-life stories connect on an emotional level to move, touch, or inspire them.
  • DANPeople share stories with each other everyday. Start by looking inside your company, what do they find interesting and note worthy.Start with a small group of "listeners" to begin collecting customer and co-worker stories. These early contributors will probably have several examples. Have a plan in place to thank them for their effort. This could be a simple mention in an internal newsletter, a cup of coffee or a gift card. Simplify the submission process. Post a form on your intranet or have an intern meet with them for an interview. Continue to build off each success to grow your listeners and expand each department’s involvement.Look for stories on the WebAs you begin to email and post these stories on your website, ask the reader if they have a story idea to share. A simple link to a submission form on your public website will do the trick. Again, have a plan in place to show your appreciation if their suggestions are used in one of your communications.Expand this concept to social networks like Facebook, LinkedIn and Twitter. Ask leading questions to invite discussions on success stories involving your brand.
  • DAN< 16.7 min>SegmentationFirst, the post-modern consumer wants only products or services that fit their exact needs and they want to feel like it’s the best. I think Susan Friedmann’s quote sums it up nicely.“No matter what or whom we’re talking about, from movies to chiropractors to books to financial planners, the consumer hankers after specialization.”Secondly, a person is not the same individual they were when they first enrolled. They may have changed jobs, developed new tastes or have matured into a new life stage. Marketers are investing the time and effort to overcome these challenges
  • COURTNEYEarn trustEmail segmentation allows you to send highly relevant messages to a qualified recipient list. This tactic’s narrow focus does not overwhelm readers with a bombardment of seemingly random offers, earning trust that transfers into higher open and clickthrough rates.
  • DANChart: Significant challengeThis is a strategy that marketers understand on paper, but find hard to implement. Executing complex data segmentation for drip, transactional or win-back campaigns requires time and resources organizations may not have. In MarketingSherpa’s 2012 Email Marketing BenchmarkReport, we found that 55 percent of marketers responded that integrating data with other system was a very significant challenge.
  • We’ll talk more about ways to use data to segment your lists in just a moment, but first you’ll notice that deliverability was the second biggest challenge.If you only send out promotional emails historically, and cannot risk the impact to revenue, how do you start incorporating "content" without upsetting the apple cart or adding new email campaigns? -- RichardI would be remiss if I did not mention our sponsor ReturnPath at this point. Return Path is the Global Leader in Email Intelligence and their inbox placement solutions can help you improve your email deliverability and increase your email marketing ROI. Their solutions utilize the world’s most comprehensive set of data that help businesses build healthy and trusting relationships with their customers. I highly recommend you check them out. Their website is listed here, www.returnpath.com. Give them a quick look and see how they help ISPs and other mailbox providers enhance network performance and drive customer retention.
  • Also, get a free email deliverability special report…
  • DANThe specificity and success of your segmentation strategy will be determined by the sophistication of your database. Look to combine all available data found in email database with your customer relationship management (CRM), social CRM and accounting software. If it is not possible to integrate your systems, find workarounds to share information across departments
  • COURTNEY What are the best ways to penetrate a client's mind to gather relevant content for their audience? Best practices for information gathering when writing newsletters for clients. – Michelle – Testing and Endemic DataWhen you begin searching for data, there are four types you should be looking for. Endemic, Transactional, Behavioral, and Computed.Endemic data is data unique to a particular record. Examples are contact and demographic information. This is data you can glean from your opt-in or preference pages that subscribers volunteer. For B2B marketers it may include company, title, and vertical industry. B2C marketers may learn geographic location, age and income level.
  • DANTransactional data consists of data captured during any transaction an opt-in has with your brand. Financials are the most common source of transactional data, but it can also encompass a subscribers IP address, and the opt-in landing page. In addition, be sure to look for the following facts in your database.Recency: How recently did the opt-in transact with/purchase from your brand?Frequency: How frequently does the opt-in transact with/purchase from your brand?Monetary: Value of the customer in financial terms, i.e., money spent?
  • DAN Behavioral data is perhaps the most actionable of all the database information and can come from a wide variety of both online and offline sources. Website clicks, email opens, calls into customer service, and redemption of coupons at a store location are all examples of behavioral data. Finding and following behavioral data will give you new insights to better profile your customers.
  • DANComputed data is the outcome when one or more variables are used to create a third variableFor example, the variable "number of miles from a retail store" is computed data; it is the difference in distance between the customer’s and the store’s address
  • DANEven after doing an internal search for data, we may come up short. Let’s look at a case study of company that got really creative to learn more about their customers' preferences. Last summer, Greg Moser, Nytro Multisport, and his team were charged with turning their increasingly stagnant email list into a highly relevant, targeted email program. They also had fallen woefully behind most retailers when it came to the emerging channel of advertising to mobile phones and handsets. "We had a whole lot of old email addresses from the last 10 to 15 years of business," Moser says. "We had little other data than the email address. And we had the desire to begin mobile marketing because we had just launched a mobile version of our website. We wanted to do text messaging. We knew the only way to do it was have people subscribe."
  • DANEven without much backend data, Moser could extrapolate from anecdotal takeaways and sales sheets that their database had two key consumer segments:TriathletesCycling-only enthusiastsBut they didn’t know which subscribers belonged in those segments, or for that matter, where they lived. Campaign #1. Run sweeps/learn more about current subscribersTo encourage people to provide more information, they sent an email that promoted a chance to win one of two high-end road bicycles. The email campaign was supported by the following aspects during the sweepstakes’ 40-day run:- Display ads via select cycling-oriented sites.Facebook and Twitter posts, which announced the sweepstakes and its winners.In order to enter the contest, registrants had to enter the following information on the landing page:Full nameEmail addressCity/state/zip codeCountryBirthdayBike of choice Opt-in check boxes for email and mobile alertsMoser says that one of the prize bikes was a favorite of tri-athletes and the other was more likely to be purchased by a road cyclist. This is why the team gave registrants a choice about which prize they would prefer. "Some people won’t come out and tell you right away if they are a road cyclist or a tri-athlete," Moser explains. "Through that kind of bike selection [in the registration process], it was meant to give us more of an idea of what kind of enthusiast he or she really is."
  • DANNext, Moser and his team aimed to use the information gained from the first campaign in a more targeted effort. Campaign #2. Segment list and test creativeThey separated actives from inactives and added them to the new names that ended up entering through the display ads or through viral email pass-along.Moser says the second campaign went to just half as many names as the first. "It was definitely something that was the next step, something that built off the first campaign, in terms of being able to target our audience.“- This campaign, which lasted 45 days, included the same push of display ads across cycle-oriented sites that the first effort did, as well as the modest Facebook/Twitter promotion. - The email portion of the campaign mirrored the creative style of the prior effort. Here are the key elements conjoining the two emails’ look-and-feel:A landing page that included checkboxes to join the mobile list and email programSubject lines similar in style and character lengthA red-colored top navigation bar in the email bodyAn image hyperlinked to the landing page underneath the navigation barTwo smaller boxes showing other offers or advertisementsA forward-to-friend feature- The only major creative difference was how the first message utilized a suggestive picture of a young woman as the top image, while the second email showed a well-known female cyclist in action. Would a sexy image trump an action image when it came to clickthroughs for this athletic audience?
  • DANRESULTSMoser and his team saw outstanding successes and intriguing takeaways from the campaigns. The open and clickthrough rates for each campaign were significantly higher than the brand’s previous averages. And the list growth was considerable for the email program, showing that there was likely a viral effect in conjunction with a healthy performance by the display ads. Moser says the improved performance of the second campaign indicated a significant advantage – higher relevance. In this case, sex did not appear to sell, as the action-based image handily surpassed the suggestive image in terms of clickthroughs. He also lauds the lead-gen production (almost 20,000 new names) from the two sends. "We more than doubled our subscriber list overnight." The campaigns boosted the mobile marketing program, building the team’s mobile list to almost 6,000 names, with just a small number of emails and a few weeks of targeted banners.
  • COURTNEYAt the end of the day, we are what we ship. An email message from Chuck-E-Cheese giving me a discount on a birthday that arrives after I have planned my son’s 7th birthday party does me no good. Consistently delivering the right message at the right time to a subscriber is essential to building a trustworthy relationship with our customers.To accomplish this goal we need to have a sound internal process. One that lays out a map of the path to purchase that sales and marketing both agree on. A functioning editorial calendar that everyone on the team follows. It needs to be treated as sacred. Of course you need the ability to sort your lists to segment your customers. Finally you must have a predictable approval process that respects the urgency of sending the message out. I feel this is so important, in the process make sure you include submission dates and expected times to receive feedback. So either as the approver your not handed a communication that gives you only an hour to review or as the email marketer you do not receive a rewrite the morning of your ship date. Respect the process, so you can respect your customers.
  • COURTNEY< 56 sec>We saw earlier that triggered or automated emails are the top tactic to improve relevant communications. For me they are like a lawn sprinklers system. There is no way I would have a green grass if I didn’t have a sprinkler system set to water the lawn every Tuesday and Friday. If I was using a hose and sprinkler set, I most likely be reactive to when I notice the grass turning brown and inconsistent on the length of time I water the grass. With the irrigation system I can select the day, time of day, and duration of the water. It works so well that I save time, money and I don’t have to worry about it.Automated emails are the same, they are more efficient as they are sent at the exact time the subscriber initiated an action. Due to this timing and relevancy they achieve a higher open rate. 80% of companies are using triggered emails and those that do it makes up 22% of organizations overall email volume
  • DANPRC – 34 Chart: Most popular automated emailsOur research finds 63% of organizations send triggered welcome emails. The importance of this email message cannot be understated. For some consumers, this will be the first two-way conversation they will have with the brand. Hopefully, it will be the first step in transitioning from fan to customer to brand advocate. At the bottom was abandoned shopping cart triggered emails. Only 11% of marketers carryout these campaigns. Many have shied away from including an offer in fear that this policy would train customers to abandon their carts in hopes of receiving a better deal. Test this hypothesis out with your customers, you may find the benefits of increased sales outweigh any negatives. In fact, research by the Conversion Academy supports the strategy’s effectiveness as they found on average 21% of abandoners reengage and buy. Moreover, abandoners will spend 55% more on purchases than non-abandoners.
  • COURTNEY 33The information we mine from our databases can help tounderstand many of the internal motivation factors of our subscribers. Their likes and dislikes, where they are in the sales cycle and past purchasing history. To play off of external factors that make emails more timely and relevant you can use trend-jacking tactics. Trend-jacking will get your emails opened and read. Try timing your emails with weather conditions, Super Bowl hype, Royal Wedding or big news stories can seed the reader for your email content. These stories relate to what people are buzzing about at the coffee shop and water cooler. Please be aware that these can be challenging to implement. Number one you will need to incorporate resources in your editorial calendar to respond to the opportunities quickly. These stories can happen over a weekend or off regular work hours.
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  • DANHere is an great example of a real-time guerilla marketing tactic used by Marketo, a marketing automation software company. Their partner Salesforce.com purchased an ad during this past year’s Super Bowl. As you know for many the Super Bowl is more about the ads and party than the actual game so Salesforce was able to get a lot of press because it is unusual for a B2B company to purchase this expensive time slot. Marketo decided to send an email survey moments after the partner ad was aired. This not only increased the likelihood that the subscriber could recall the ad, it also inserted their brand into the conversation. The email design was simple and optimized for mobile. To make it easy to participate they made large yes or no buttons.Marketo followed up with a results email the next day to everyone that participated in the poll. It drove people to a landing page that encouraged people to Tweet. I think this worked well in going viral as there were a few blog post discussing the campaign, including MarketingSherpa.
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Email Marketing: 3 Tips for Producing Engaging Email Content Email Marketing: 3 Tips for Producing Engaging Email Content Presentation Transcript

  • How is email working for you?Take our Email Benchmark Survey here: MarketingSherpa.com/survey You’ll receive aFREE special report on CMO Perspectives on Email Deliverability for completing it. #sherpawebinar
  • Sponsored by: Dec. 6, 2012
  • Introductions • Daniel Burstein, Director of Editorial Content MECLABS/MarketingSherpa Twitter: @DanielBurstein • Courtney Eckerle, Reporter MECLABS Twitter: @courtneyeckerle #sherpawebinar
  • Join the conversation #SherpaWebinar #sherpawebinar
  • MarketingSherpa is a research and publishingorganization serving the marketing community• MarketingSherpa’s annual research cycle provides knowledge for continuous marketing improvement #sherpawebinar
  • #sherpawebinar
  • 3 tips to produce engaging content • Creating contagious content • Segmenting for success • Shipping on time #sherpawebinar
  • Chart: Top 5 priorities for organizations emailmarketing processes, by primary sales channel 76%72% of B2B firms Growing and retaining subscribers 64% 72%say delivering 68%highly relevant Delivering highly relevant content 72%content is a top 66%priority Achieving or increasing 40% 39% measurable ROI 46%Only 28% of Increasing email 34% 41% engagement metricsorganizations 40%report sending Integrating email with 37% Consumer channel (B2C) 30% Business channel (B2B)relevant email other marketing tactics 38% Both channels (B2B2C)communications Source: ©2011 MarketingSherpa Email Marketing Benchmark Survey Methodology: Fielded July 2011, N=2,735 #sherpawebinar
  • Which relevancy improvements tactics havebeen working for you? #sherpawebinar
  • Chart: Top 5 relevancy improvement tactics, by level of effectiveness Very effective Somewhat effective Automatically send email based on triggers 43% 47% • Time – triggered emails Segment email campaigns based on behavior 41% 52% • Segmentation – Use loyalty/reward programs 40% 42% based on behavior or sales cycle Produce content for each funnel stage 39% 51% • Content – producedSegment email campaigns based on sales cycle 33% 54% for each funnel Source: ©2011 MarketingSherpa Email Marketing Benchmark Survey Methodology: Fielded July 2011, N=2,735 stage #sherpawebinar
  • More than a buzzword Content Relevancy Segmentation Time Send the right message to the right person at the right time #sherpawebinar
  • Conduct content audit Research Publicity Sales Customer Interviews Website Service Product Blogs Print Dev. Email Content #sherpawebinar
  • Exercise: Taking inventory of your existing libraryof marketing content Buying Stage Customer questions/ needs Content with answers to concernsProspectNurtureActivateRetainRefer #sherpawebinar
  • Who is going to create it? #sherpawebinar
  • Ask what’s our story?Seek to uncover human intereststories that personalize yourbrand, giving readers revealinginsights into your company’sculture, products and services Hire a brand journalist - Promote a content director - Search for internal storytellers #sherpawebinar
  • Build an editorial calendar • This calendar is in line with your marketing initiatives, building off existing promotions, events and key objectives • The production schedule includes milestones, approval process and ship dates • Do less and ship, rather plan more and miss deadlines #sherpawebinar
  • Create content they crave and can’t be contained “By publishing content that shows buyers you understand their problems and can show them how to solve them, you build credibility.” – Ardath Albee Emarketing Strategies for the Complex Sale • Three types of content to stretch your content library: repurposed, user-generated and original #sherpawebinar
  • Repurpose content• Pre-existing content may be found in: • Media coverage • Speaking engagements • Case studies • Analysts reports • Blogs “blog corner”• The art of repurposing lies in the editor’s ability to combine existing content with the communications’ purpose in a relevant way to the reader #sherpawebinar
  • Exercise: Recycling content ideas #sherpawebinar
  • Leverage user generated content (UGC)• If your brand is in the hands of the consumer, why not use their words, pictures, and thoughts in your email marketing campaigns?• Unsolicited testimonials add a human touch to your messages• Today’s consumer relies more on fellow consumers’ opinions than the brand’s claims when making a purchasing decision #sherpawebinar
  • Don’t fear negative comments“When a company is humble enough to admit a weakness, they immediately distinguish themselves from the competition. It opens the door for a trust relationship. The consumer is all too aware of the fact that we are not perfect. To pretend otherwise only serves to raise their suspicion. Tell them what you can’t do, and they’ll believe you when you tell them what you can do.” – Dr. Flint McGlaughlin, Managing Director and CEO, MECLABS #sherpawebinar
  • Incorporate your evangelists’ voicesSystematically capture user-generated feedback • Capture both written and oral feedback • How to recognize a brand evangelist • Give terminology, job titles, special requests • Capture both written and oral feedback #sherpawebinar
  • Incorporate your evangelists’ voices • Troll the Internet • Look on search engines, social networks, Technorati, online customer reviews, or with monitoring services like Radian 6 • Find unfiltered comments and learn the terms used to describe your product or service • Record your evangelists on video • Notice the body language, facial expressions, passions and concerns of a true fanatic • Use footage to guide agencies and copywriters #sherpawebinar
  • Craft original content• Starting from scratch gives marketers an opportunity to create content that can help solve consumers’ biggest challenges• “Rather than focus on being interesting, be interested “ - Brian Carroll Executive Director of Applied Research MECLABS• “The first step to <thought> leadership is servanthood.” -John C. Maxwell (adaption) #sherpawebinar
  • Humanize your content“Effectiveengagement isinspired by theempathy thatdevelops simply bybeing human.” – Brian Solis Author of Engage and The End of Business as Usual #sherpawebinar
  • Tell storiesCompliment existing content with bonus material • An example would be to interview the author of a popular e-book, write or record the interview on video and share via email Practice the art of storytelling • Share personal experiences of employees, customers and community members that relate to your brand truth • Consumers rely on facts to rationalize their decisions, but real-life stories connect on an emotional level to move, touch and inspire #sherpawebinar
  • Find treasure troves• Start with a small group of internal “listeners” to collect stories from • Employees • Suppliers • Evangelists• Be sure to set up a plan to thank them for their effort via newsletter recognition, cup of coffee or gift card• Allow customers to submit stories on your website, blogs or social media sites #sherpawebinar
  • Segment audience“No matter what or whom we’re talking about, from movies to chiropractorsto books to financial planners, the consumer hankers after specialization.” – Susan Friedmann Author of Riches in Niches Enjoy reading Evaluate what the CEO Like learning purchasing I look forward thinks money saving I recently options to coupons tips changed jobs #sherpawebinar
  • Earn trust The key benefit is that brands do not overwhelm readers with a bombardment of seemingly random offers, earning trust that transfers into higher open and clickthrough rates #sherpawebinar
  • Chart: Very significant challenges to emailmarketing effectiveness Integrating email data with other data systems 55%“Integrating with ourCRM. Weve customizedit to the hilt and now its Improving email deliverability 54%very hard to do anysyncing between our Growing and retaining subscribers 53%selected marketingautomation vendor.” - Survey participant Achieving or increasing measurable ROI 49%20% of B2C marketersresponded that Using email for funnel optimization 49%segmenting campaignsby behavior was difficult Source: ©2011 MarketingSherpa Email Marketing Benchmark Survey Methodology: Fielded July 2011, N=2,735 #sherpawebinar
  • is the Worldwide Leader in Email Intelligence Delivering Measurable ROI Over a Decade of Experience• Get into the inbox • Certification whitelist accepted at over• Engage your readers 2 billion mailboxes worldwide• Join the trusted senders • Nearly 300 global ISP partners• Protect your brand • Serving over 2,000 leading brands• Make your email program best-in-class To get more email delivered to the inbox, visit Return Path online www.returnpath.com #sherpawebinar
  • How is email working for you?Take our Email Benchmark Survey here: MarketingSherpa.com/survey You’ll receive aFREE special report on CMO Perspectives on Email Deliverability for completing it. #sherpawebinar
  • Go on the quest for data “If content is king, your database is queen.” – Amy Garland WhatCounts, Inc. Search for all available data within your • Email database • CRM and sCRM • Financial software #sherpawebinar
  • Endemic data• Data unique to a particular record• Examples are contact and demographic information• Mostly gleaned from the information subscribers volunteer on opt-in or preference pages• Learn more with “How-to: 5 Steps to improve your email newsletter” #sherpawebinar
  • Transactional data • Transactional data consists of data captured during any transaction an opt-in has with your brand • Financials are the most common source of transactional data • Look at RFM • Recency: How recently did the opt-in transact with/purchase from your brand? • Frequency: How frequently does the opt-in transact with/purchase from your brand? • Monetary: Value of the customer in financial terms, i.e., money spent? #sherpawebinar
  • Behavioral data• Most actionable data• What actions has your subscriber taken both online and offline?• Examples may include: •Website clicks •Email opens •Calls to customer service •Coupon redemption #sherpawebinar
  • Computed data • Computed data is the outcome when one or more variables are used to create a third variable • For example, the variable "number of miles from a retail store" is computed data #sherpawebinar
  • Case study: One-two campaign punch growsemail and mobile lists• The company: Nytro Multisport• The marketplace: Sports e-retailer• The product: On-road and off-road bicycles• The channel: Email, online ads and social media• The campaign objective: Turn Nytro’s increasingly stagnant email list into a highly relevant, targeted email program http://www.marketingsherpa.com/article/case-study/segmentation-delivers-40-lift-in #sherpawebinar
  • Campaign #1: Run sweeps to learn more aboutcurrent subscribers Promotion • Display ads on select cycling-oriented sites. • Facebook and Twitter posts announcing sweepstakes and winners Enter-to-win registration • Full name • Email address • City/state/ZIP code • Country • Birthday • Bike of choice • Opt-in check boxes for email and mobile alerts *One of the prize bikes was a favorite of tri-athletes and the other was more likely to be purchased by a road cyclist. This is why the team gave registrants a choice about which prize they would prefer #sherpawebinar
  • Campaign #2: Segment list and test creativeSegmentation • Separated actives from inactivesSimilarities • Display ads via select cycling-oriented sites • Facebook and Twitter posts • A landing page that included checkboxes to join the mobile list and email program • Subject lines similar in style and character length • A red-colored top navigation bar in the email body • An image hyperlinked to the landing page underneath the navigation bar • Two smaller boxes showing other offers or ads • A forward-to-friend feature*The only major creative difference was how the first messageutilized a suggestive picture of a young woman as the top image,while the second email showed a well-known female cyclist in action #sherpawebinar
  • Results Results from the first campaign: • Open rate increased 112% • Clickthroughs increased 6% • 9,877 new people signed up for emails • 2,318 opted in for text messages Results from the second campaign: • Open rate increased 142% • Clickthroughs increased 40% • 10, 045 new people signed up for emails • 3,634 opted in for text-messages • The second campaign indicated a significant advantage – higher relevance. The action- based image surpassed the suggestive image in clickthroughs #sherpawebinar
  • Ship on time • You are what you ship • If the email is not sent at the right time, the message will be irrelevant • To ship on time and make it a repeatable process • Map of the path to purchase • Editorial calendar • Segmented list • Predictable approval process that respects the urgency of sending on time #sherpawebinar
  • Automate emails• A single or series of emails created by a defined set of rules based on dates, events or behaviors that are automatically sent to a subscriber• Consistently achieve higher open rates due to timing and relevancy• Make up 22% of organizations overall email volume #sherpawebinar
  • Chart: Most popular automated email messages Welcome 63% Thank you 54% Transactional (e.g. bills, receipts) 48% Post purchase (e.g. product review) 32% • 21% of Upsell (e.g. product recommendations) 26% abandoners Activation (e.g. how to) 24% reengage and buy. Date triggered (e.g. renewals, reorder) 22% Win back/ reengagement 17% • Abandoners spend Event countdown 16% 55% more on Triggered based on website behavior 13% purchases than Shopping cart abandonment 11% non-abandoners Source: ©2011 MarketingSherpa Email Marketing Benchmark Survey Methodology: Fielded July 2011, N=2,735 - Conversion Academy #sherpawebinar
  • Send in real-time • Data mining allows marketers to leverage our readers internal motivations and location in the sales cycle • Trend-jacking ideas relies on external factors • Weather conditions • Big events • News stories • Can be challenging to implement • Incorporate resources in your editorial calendar to respond to these opportunities quickly • Can happen over the weekend or off regular work hours #sherpawebinar
  • Poor exampleFrom: AppSumoSent: Thursday, October 06, 2011at 5:16 AMTo: Rice, JeffSubject: Steve Jobs was originallyobsessed with typographyThis came out the day after SteveJobs died. #sherpawebinar
  • Super example • Real-time guerrilla marketing effort during Super Bowl XLV • Email survey sent moments after B2B ad aired • Email sent to more than 20,000 marketers in the US and Canada. • 13.5% open rate, yielding a 16.5% click to open rate. • More than 680 responded to the poll • Followed up with results via email the next day • 63% said YES it was a good idea #sherpawebinar
  • Capitalize on watercooler conversations #sherpawebinar
  • Watch the weather #sherpawebinar
  • Poke funat rival(s) #sherpawebinar
  • Feaston funfacts #sherpawebinar
  • Section Summary:Produce relevant contentQ: What are the three factors needed to create relevant content?A: Content they crave Segmentation Real-time communicationsQ: Besides creating original content, what are two other ways to generate new content?A: Repurpose User-generatedQ: What are four types of data to collect?A: Endemic Behavioral Transactional Computed #sherpawebinar
  • Thank You! • Daniel Burstein, Director of Editorial Content MECLABS/MarketingSherpa Twitter: @DanielBurstein • Courtney Eckerle, Reporter MECLABS Twitter: @courtneyeckerle #sherpawebinar